No Action on DCS Issue Expected During the Legislative Session

(NETWORK INDIANA)  Legislators in both parties are calling for a “full review” of Indiana’s Department of Child Services.

D-C-S director Mary Beth Bonaventura touched off controversy with a scathing resignation letter last month in which she charged internal dysfunction at the agency, including a refusal to spend some of its budget, is putting children at deadly risk. Governor Holcomb has noted the state pumped half-a-billion dollars into D-C-S last year. But he’s asked the Alabama-based Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group to review the agency’s operations.

House Minority Leader Terry Goodin (D-Austin) says the amount of money going to the agency isn’t an answer. He and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) say legislators should hold hearings, including asking Bonaventura to testify.

Republican leaders agree the letter raises serious concerns. But House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long say legislators have neither the time nor the expertise to conduct hearings during the 10-week session which began Wednesday.

Bosma says he’ll call for the Legislative Council, a General Assembly steering committee which includes all four leaders, to hold a hearing on the report when it’e complete, even if the legislature has adjourned by then.